August 28, 2007

BP Loves Children And Wants To Fill The Earth With Flowers.


Giant corporations exploiting adorable, emotionally manipulative fictional characters to suck every last dollar out of our wallets, while making outlandish PR claims that are totally at odds with accepted science and the dismal reality on the ground got you down?

But enough about Disney [haha!] let's talk about BP, aka BP-Amoco, aka British Petroleum, BP is not best known for at least eight years of not using its $22 billion +/- annual profits to maintain the Alaska oil pipeline, which resulted in a massive spill last summer and forced the pipeline to be shut down, sending already-high oil prices even higher, thereby boosting BP's margins even further.

And who cares?? Have you seen the adorable little babies running the BP gas stations? They all work in the film industry, they're all huggable AND environmentally conscious, and they make driving so much fun, I could do it all day! And leave the car idling at night, just for good measure!

bp_lighthouse_commercial.jpgI haven't seen the $36 million "a little better" campaign on TV; I spotted a super-designed, BP-baby-covered shopping bag and children's activity book at the gas station when I had to fix a flat tire. I scooped it all up, the eco-tips-filled trading cards and all, dropped it in the trunk--and forgot about it for two months.

Then I started photographing it, then I realized the website's just as cute-tastic, even more so, because there are little commercials, songs, animated baby mail, SimGasStation games, and cars emitting nothing but flowers--BP-shaped flowers--from their tailpipes. Looks eco-friendly to me! It also looks remarkably like that animation Takashi Murakami made for Louis Vuitton, who also loves children.

The spectacularly transparent cynicism of the Say Hey Club's backseat driver activity book is, well, spectacular. And cute! Here's a quick recap of their adventure: the Club interrupts their "weekly Eco-meeting" in their "eco-friendly treehouse" to investigate "a gigantic footprint!" below:


"That's a huge footprint," exclaimed Abby. Sal slurped his drink and Jackson barked in agreement.

"What could have made it?" asked Mike. "Bigfoot?"

"Hmmm... it's too big for any sort of animal I've ever seen. I think it might be a carbon footprint," replied Frankie ["the intellectual of the group" -ed.]. "Let's follow it!"

Soon they came upon a boy and his father enjoying a snack next to their truck.

"Hey," said the boy. "Name's Ben. Thank goodness my dad and I found you. We got lost, ran out of gas and then everything went dead silent. I'm a little scared!"

Hi-Five introduced each of the gang an dcalled Jackson to heel, who had mistaken the truck's fender for a fire hydrant.

Ben looked at the giant footprint, thought about it and said, "You know, I think our truck made this carbon footprint and that's what has scared away all the wildlife."

Everyone agreed and as they quietly chatted, the sounds of the forest began to return, the size of the carbon footprints began to shrink and a bird fluttered down and perched on Ben's dad's head.

"Awwww. That's beautiful," choked Ben's dad, with a tear in his eye.

"You're going to have to wash your t-shirt when you get home," whispered Hi Five with a giggle at what the bird had left behind.

There you have it: offroading, quiet chatting, and a few poop jokes, and all this scary carbon footprint mess will disappear! [aka]


What's this? Baby's driving cars?

Now they've really made me angry...!

Smart marketing but poor judgment. Adult are old enough to know BPs history but kids are not.

[Smart Kid]

I don't see how this is smart marketing unless they think most people are dumb. I find it strange that people can actually look at scientific data in the face and not believe it.

Instead of spending tons of money on false marketing, they should spend it on finding alternative energies.

Dude, I thought you were joking with that text until I took a closer look at the pictures. WTF? That story doesn't make any sense at all, ridiculous. But those happy little gas pumps sure are cute.

Isn't that Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters in the second picture?

[oh how the mighty have fallen. but didn't he have to take a job as a flight attendant or a pilot or something, too? I think I saw that on the news once. -ed.]

Okay. So it's obvious that bp (their lowercase, not mine) is seeking to make automobiles run on legally downloaded music. Just looks at the pumps with attached white cords... hello, iPod! Suck on that one, Willie Nelson!

Whatever! The shopping bags are adorable. I use them as my lunch bags. I don't see what's wrong with this at all. If anything is wrong with it - it's that "green" stuff in general - is annoying! But, the drawings are cute cute - call me a sucker if you must but their designers are good. It gets people in there. It's a marketing ploy sure but it sets them apart and is getting the job done apparently. BP is always on my fact sheets overweighted list. Complain all you want - it's working for them.

I totally agree and profoundly disagree with you at the same time, if that makes any sense. If it turns out that our utterly unsustainable level of senseless consumption and pollution can be solved with nothing more than an adorable paper bag, I will meet you on the steps of BP World headquarters. You bring the muffins, I'll bring the flowers.


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